Twitter's Parag Agrawal joins club of Indian-origin CEOs heading top tech giants

News Network
November 30, 2021

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With his elevation as the CEO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal, in whom co-founder of the microblogging giant Jack Dorsey has “bone-deep” trust, joins the growing power club of Indian-origin executives helming US-based global multinationals.

Twitter’s outgoing CEO Dorsey announced on Monday that 37-year old Agrawal, an IIT Mumbai and Stanford University alumnus, will be the company’s new chief executive as he stepped down after 16 years at the company that he co-founded and helmed.

A report in The New York Times said that Agrawal will receive an annual salary of $1 million, in addition to bonuses, restricted stock units and performance-based stock units.

“After almost 16 years of having a role at our company...from co-founder to CEO to Chair to Exec Chair to interim-CEO to CEO...I decided it's finally time for me to leave. Why?

“There's a lot of talk about the importance of a company being 'founder-led.' Ultimately I believe that's severely limiting and a single point of failure. I've worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders. There are 3 reasons I believe now is the right time.

“The first is Parag becoming our CEO. The board ran a rigorous process considering all options and unanimously appointed Parag. He's been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs.

Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He's curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and humble. He leads with heart and soul and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone-deep,” Dorsey said.

Agrawal’s ascension as Twitter CEO puts him in the growing ranks of Indian-origin and Indian-born executives being named to the helm of global multinationals.

In January last year, Indian-born technology executive Arvind Krishna was named Chief Executive Officer of American IT giant IBM after a "world-class succession process", succeeding Virginia Rometty, who had described him as the “right CEO for the next era at IBM” and “well-positioned" to lead the company into the cloud and cognitive era.

Krishna, 59, had joined IBM in 1990 and has an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a PhD. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In August 2015, Sundar Pichai was named CEO of the newly organised Google, becoming only the third chief executive of the company after former CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Larry Page. In December 2019, Pichai became the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

Pichai wished Dorsey “the very best ahead” and congratulated Agrawal and Board Chair Bret Taylor, saying he is “excited for Twitter's future!”

In February 2014, Microsoft veteran Satya Nadella was named CEO of the technology giant. MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, PepsiCo’s former CEO Indra Nooyi and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen are among the other Indian-origin executives who have climbed up the corporate ladder and helmed multinational giants.

Mumbai-born Agrawal tweeted Monday “Deep gratitude” for Dorsey and the entire team.

In a note posted on Twitter, he said he is “honoured and humbled” on his appointment and expressed gratitude to Dorsey’s “continued mentorship and your friendship.”

Agrawal had joined Twitter 10 years ago when there were fewer than 1,000 employees.

"While it was a decade ago, those days feel like yesterday to me. I've walked in your shoes, I've seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes. But then and now, above all else, I see Twitter's incredible impact, our continued progress, and the exciting opportunities ahead of us,” he said.

“Our purpose has never been more important. Our people and our culture are unlike anything in the world. There is no limit to what we can do together,” he said.

“The world is watching us right now, even more than they have before. Lots of people are going to have lots of different views and opinions about today's news. It is because they care about Twitter and our future, and it's a signal that the work we do here matters,” he said.

A report in The New York Times said Agrawal, who was Twitter’s chief technology officer since 2017, “is little known to the public, with even some Twitter insiders saying they were surprised by his appointment."

But behind the scenes, the India-born engineer has been a Twitter veteran and confidant of Dorsey who has been involved in many of the company’s biggest strategic initiatives, it said.

The NYT report said that in 2005, Agrawal moved to the United States and pursued a doctorate in computer science while enrolled at Stanford University.

“Even among students at Stanford, Agrawal stood out for his strong grasp of the math and the theory that underpins computer science,” the NYT report quoted Jennifer Widom, who led the research lab and served as his thesis adviser, as saying.

As CTO, Agrawal was responsible for Twitter’s technical strategy, leading work to improve development velocity while advancing the state of Machine Learning across the company.

“Even as chief technology officer, Agrawal has kept a low profile. He worked behind the scenes to rebuild Twitter’s technical infrastructure, which had been cobbled together over the years. That led to engineering problems and prevented the company from introducing new products and services as quickly as it wanted. Agrawal helped Twitter shift to using cloud computing services from Google and Amazon, streamlining its operations,” the NYT report said.

Prior to being appointed CTO, he “had risen to be Twitter's first Distinguished Engineer due to his work across revenue and consumer engineering, including his impact on the re-acceleration of audience growth in 2016 and 2017,” company said.

Agrawal also managed Twitter’s effort to “incorporate cryptocurrencies into the platform, letting users send tips in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. And he has supported efforts to be transparent about Twitter’s algorithmic mistakes, urging the company to go public with its findings that a photo-cropping algorithm it used was biased,” the NYT report said.

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News Network
December 7,2022

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Mangaluru, Dec 7: A student of Mangaluru St Aloysius College was found dead on the railway tracks near her home at Kadappura, Kavugoli Chowki in Kasaragod district yesterday.  

The deceased is Anjana K, 22, daughter of Surendran, a resident of Kadappura, Kavugoli Chowki in Kasaragod. She was a first year student of M.Sc. Biochemistry.  

According to her family members, Anjana had slept after dinner on Monday (December 5) night but was missing in the morning. 

When the people started searching for her, they found her mortal remains on the railway tracks a little away from her residence. It is learnt that her mobile phone was also found crushed on the railway tracks.

The exact cause of her death is under investigation, but it is suspected that she could have been hit by a moving train. 

The Kasaragod police who are investigating the case, have handed over Anjana’s body to her family after a post-mortem done at a Kasaragod General Hospital.

On Wednesday, December 7, a condolence service was held at the LCRI block of St Aloysius College. 

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News Network
December 8,2022

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Ahmedabad, Dec 8: Jignesh Mevani, a popular face and working president of Gujarat Congress, has won his Vadgam seat again, his party though sank to its worst-ever performance in the state. He is one of the most prominent Dalit faces in the state.

In the 2017 Gujarat assembly election, Mr Mevani won the Vadgam constituency as an Independent MLA. The Congress extended support to him by not fielding any candidate in the constituency.

Mr Mevani, 41, is the convener of the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, a forum fighting for Dalit rights.

Vadgam is a reserved seat for the scheduled castes (SCs), where Muslim voters play a decisive role. Muslim voters, estimated to be around 90,000, account for a third of Vadgam's 2.94-lakh electorate. There are about 44,000 dalit voters and 15,000 Rajputs. The rest comprise mostly OBCs.

The ruling BJP has collected more than 150 seats of 182 seats, a record not just for the party, but for the state and it demolishes the record set in 1985 when the Congress won 149 seats.

The BJP has secured a seventh consecutive term in Gujarat - another record. Its victory is owed to the central role played by the PM who campaigned across his home state, holding more than 30 rallies.

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News Network
November 25,2022

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Mangaluru, Nov 25: In yet another attempt to deepen the communal divide in coastal Karnataka, the Hindu Jagaran Vedike has put up a banner at the entrance of Kukke Sri Subrahmanya Temple in Dakshina Kannada district barring non-Hindu traders from conducting business in the premises during the Champa Shashti festival. 

Champa Shashti Mahotsava, which began with a Sheshavahana Bandi Utsava on Monday (November 21), will continue till December 5, and the Champa Shashti Maharatotsava will be held on Tuesday (November 29).

The banner reads: “Business activities by people from other religions are banned in this premises during the Kukke Subrahmanya Champa Shashti festival.”

Besides the banner, the HJV Kukke unit has also written to the temple management committee, asking it to take “necessary action” to stop non-Hindu traders from conducting business during the festival.

Hariprasad K, HJV member, in the letter to the temple management, said: “As per the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, people from other religions should not be allowed to conduct business during the festival. The sanctity of the temple should be protected, and law and order maintained. ”

Mohanram Sulli, president, temple management committee, said the management has been following the rule and non-Hindu traders are anyway not allowed to conduct business on the temple premises.

“We do not have an option under the law to allow people from other religions to conduct business within temple limits,” Sulli said. “As per the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, we can neither lease properties, nor execute a tender to persons from other religions. We have been following the rules.”

Asked to comment on the letter written by the HJV, Sulli said that the temple committee need not adopt any additional resolution, as the law itself is specific and sufficient.

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